Susan Brackney Kimbrough, 81, of Prairie Village, Kansas passed away on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. She was born May 14, 1942, to Herbert W. Brackney and Harriet (Wilson) Brackney in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Susan graduated from Southeast High School in 1960 and from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1964 with a teaching degree.
Susan taught math for just one year before deciding that she “didn’t really like children,” although 100s of Girl and Boy Scouts would disagree.
She loved her cats and had over a dozen from high school on. Most had very interesting names with even more interesting stories behind the name. Her beloved cats were Tina Marie, Crud, Critter, Choki, Freckles, Frog, Misty, Pollywog, Nikki, Red Rover, Fluffernutt, Ladybug, Ginger Pi, and Thumper.
She had various hobbies through the years. These included candle making, macramé, machine knitting, cake decorating, and, finally, making yard art and turning her backyard into a refuge for the neighborhood wildlife.
Susan was an adult volunteer for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Little League, and finally, Boy Scouts.
As a Girl Scout leader, she encouraged the girls to look far beyond cookies and crafts. One of the most well remembered badges was one called “Troop’s Own,” where the troop gets to create their own badge requirements and then fulfill them. Susan’s troop created an Electrician’s Badge.
They made hanging planter/lamps from large coffee cans … the bottom can was a planter, and it was attached to an upper can with chains. The girls had to wire a light fixture inside the upper can and it hung from the ceiling. The girls also learned to replace light switches and even outlets.
She got involved in Boy Scouts when she was told her son could not attend the Father/Son campout. Within two years, she was the camping chair for BSA Troop 284 and the Father/Son campout was replaced with a Parent/Son campout. She stayed in the position for nearly 20 years, long after her son left the program. She took great delight in preparing gourmet camp meals. Her children often said they ate better when camping out than they did at home.
She went on camping trips with her grandaughters’ Girl Scout troops too, making sure they knew that there was way more to campfire cooking than hot dogs and s’mores.
She took a few computer science classes in college and was an early adopter of personal computer technology. The first home computer she purchased utilized cassette tapes to save information. Her daughter had to get special permission in high school to turn in essays printed on a dot matrix printer.
In the 1980s, Susan worked for an independent computer store doing their books and cultivating clients. She ultimately went to work for a Kansas City-based plumbing wholesaler named Reeves-Wiedeman as their IT specialist.
She often took home pipes and bathroom fixtures and used them to create her yard art. A cracked shower pan became a fountain, copper pipes became flower stems or trellises, and there was more than one toilet flower planter.
Susan frequently called upon her son-in-law, Allan, for help in bringing her ideas to fruition. “Allan, can you drill a hole in this rock?” “Allan, can you build me a cake form that looks like the Enterprise from Star Trek?” “Allan, can you figure out how to get this Christmas decoration to hang 16 feet high between these two trees?” “Allan, how many bags of Quikrete do I need for 20 paw print steppingstones?” “Allan, what’s the best way to build a ramp to this doghouse for my possum?”
She didn’t actually own a possum, but there was a possum family that lived in her yard, and she wanted the critters to have a place out of the wind and rain.
Susan had a sense of humor that wasn’t always appreciated by everyone.
She made a wedding cake for a good friend that had angels on the front. Thinking only the bride and groom would see the back of the cake, she replaced the angels with white buzzards (a running joke between the groom and Susan’s family). To the bride’s horror, the groom wouldn’t cut the cake until all the guests had filed passed to see the buzzards.
A much-disliked junior high English teacher came back from lunch one day to find a banner above her classroom door. It read: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here – Dante.”
She was preceded in death by her parents and her son, Robert (Bob) Cooke Kimbrough, IV.
Susan is survived by her older sister, Barbara Melvin; daughter, Susie Gilson (Allan); grandchildren Adrien and Ben Kimbrough; granddaughters Elizabeth Halpin (Colin) and LauraNell Gilson (Heather); great-granddaughter Eleanora Grace Halpin; and her beloved cat, Thumper.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wayside Waifs or Planned Parenthood.
A gathering will be held at a later date.
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